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Coconut Oil and its health benefits

Filipinos are well-known for their youthful appearance and soft, wrinkle-free skin, even though they live in a climate that exposes them to the sun's rays year round.
The Wonders of Coconut oil
Since coconut oil is their main dietary oil, and is also the main ingredient in their skin care products, it’s a good example for us to follow, while we reflect on the dietary plans of those staying in the Asia Pacific region. One can also take a closer look at how Virgin Coconut Oil provides skin health. Coconut oil's ability to nourish and heal the skin has been known in the tropics for hundreds of years. Even when the anti-saturated fat campaign waged in the US convinced many even in coconut oil producing countries to switch to polyunsaturated oils, Filipinos and others never stopped using coconut oil on their skin because they knew about its wonderful moisturizing and healing powers for generations. As a saturated fat consisting primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), it is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Most commercial skin care products in various parts of the world today are made from polyunsaturated oils which oxidize and turn rancid very quickly causing free radical damage in the skin. There is good evidence that this is not only true for external applications, but also holds true for the oils one consumes. One of the main reasons that we experience so many skin problems in the US today is a switch in our dietary oil. Our forefathers consumed primarily saturated fats, but most people today consume polyunsaturated fats and trans fatty acids.

The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils. Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product. Both sunflower and mineral oils do not help at all in reducing the protein loss from hair. This difference in results could arise from the composition of each of these oils. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft. Mineral oil, being a hydrocarbon, has no affinity for proteins and therefore is not able to penetrate and yield better results. In the case of sunflower oil, although it is a triglyceride of linoleic acid, because of its bulky structure due to the presence of double bonds, it does not penetrate the fiber, consequently resulting in no favorable impact on protein loss.

In conclusion
Virgin Coconut Oil has been reported to help many skin problems as well. Depending on what is causing the skin problem, the coconut oil seems to work in a variety of ways. For example, we have had positive reports from people who suffer from yeast infections in the skin, and there is solid research that shows the MCTs in coconut oil do kill yeast infections. Another amazing result many are reporting from Virgin Coconut Oil is using it directly under their arms as a deodorant! Many have theorized that the MCTs in the oil attack the bacteria in sweat that cause the odors.
By Prerna Salla
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